Friday, February 25, 2011

“Gone Dark!”

“Gone Dark!”
Isaiah 50:10, Matt 3:13-14

Intro- I must admit this particular work/ teaching that I share today came from only recently understanding a place that I have been over the last six weeks. This will be a very transparent and honest teaching. Get ready! So much of what we do centers around a healthy understanding of being a leader who always understands our own barriers and limitations.

Have you ever “Gone Dark?” I have! In the CIA and the FBI when a agent is overexposed they are forced to GO DARK! They have to simply disappeare. In Ministry sometimes we have to go DARK!

Isa 50:10, Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

*We know that God is light!
1 John 1:5, (message) This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there's not a trace of darkness in him.

*We know we are His lamps!
Psalms 18:28-29, You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

*We know we reflect him and have to be free-
1 John 1:6-7, (message) If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth — we're not living what we claim. 7 But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin.

*God maybe the responsible party!
Isaiah 45:7, (message) I form light and create darkness, I make harmonies and create discords. I, God, do all these things.

Opening: I have stated hundreds of times that although I grew up in a home that battled depression, anxiety, and discouragement I had made up my mind to never allow it in me. It sounded really good from a pulpit or podium. It allowed people to look at their speaker as someone that was proof that you could be free of wrong emotions. For the most part this has been true.

However, a few weeks ago I visited my ailing father. My dad is my hero. He took our family out of a life of secularism, drugs, and abuse when I was just a boy. He pastored the churches nobody else wanted. He did everything he could to provide for us whether it was selling his class ring for my sisters Easter dress, or selling flowers to buy groceries he did it all. I love my dad dearly and believe him to be the most passionate for Jesus man I could know. He and mom haven’t been the same since my sister died about 3.5 years ago. Now over time he is having mini strokes and also had one major heart attack while ministering in New Zealand. This has left him bedridden most of the time. The strong man of power and might is very weak and tired.

Back to my visit! I went to see him as I have done as much as possible lately. It was a good visit of about 3 hours. We laughed, talked, and dreamed. He shared his disappointment with not being able to minister, and also of tired of his sickness. I drove home that day only to return in the early hours to see him after being rushed in to the hospital.

Something…. Something…. happened to me that day that was not good. I can only describe it as “Going Dark.” This is the term used by the C.I.A. or maybe some other clandestine organization when an agents identity is exposed or when the agent needs to relocate for a while. They disappear until it is safe. I went Dark! Maybe it was my parent’s mortality, a feeling of helplessness, exhaustion, or simply my own mortality that caused a cloud to rest over me. It was as if life stopped and everything went gray. That is simply the only way to explain it.

If you’re a leader out that has ever faced extreme overwhelming emotions that have defrauded you of life then you probably are one of the best lovers of people, brilliant writer, planner, organizer, developer, and visionary. I say that because you are on the devils radar. I literally felt this for six weeks. I would pray, worship, preach, dance, speak life, and wear a mask, but it was still there.

It wasn’t until last Saturday while ministering outside of Tampa on my way to a morning run that I decided to call my dad. He was awake and cognate. We exchanged pleasantries and updated each other and then like uncapping a high pressured well- I exploded! I said, Dad, help me! I need you to pray over me! I am absolutely overwhelmed!” My dad began to speak life and I can say that Spirit got off of me. I call it a spirit, because that is exactly what it is! A spirit of death! It had attached itself to me while at my parents six weeks before. I had gone Dark! It took the voice of my father to break it! It took my dad telling me I am free to get free. I had prayed, worshiped, and done everything right, but it wouldn’t let go. Now I am free. Thanks dad! And thank you to Karen for helping hold on till I got free!

Matthew 11:28- "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
I. 5 Types of darkness a leader may fall prey to:

1. Self depreciation and despair- This is the darkness I will share about ahead.

Psalms 142:3, (message) "As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away,
you know how I'm feeling, Know the danger I'm in, the traps hidden in my path.

2. Secret sin- when a leader begins to believe they can secret sin they lose the
ability know right from wrong. The moment we begin to ignore the inner
Spirit man screaming for us to get free is the moment we begin a slow death.

Psalms 7:14, (Message) Look at that guy! He had sex with sin,
he's pregnant with evil. Oh, look! He's having the baby — a Lie-Baby!

James 1:14-15, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

3. Wrong motivations- Improper ambitions, desires, and covetous behavior-

Matthew 7:16, (message) Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.

4. Offenses that eat away at you from the inside out- hurts caused by others

Proverbs 18:19 - an offended brother is harder and more unyielding to than a fortified city!

5. Pride- when you begin to believe your press! This is what has happened to
so many great leaders!

Proverbs 16:18, (message) First pride, then the crash — the bigger the ego,
the harder the fall.

We could all fall prey to all of these, but I must deal with number 1- Self depreciation and despair. Now that I have walked through this I believe I am able to amply speak concerning what I walked through. I felt lost- helpless-overwhelmed- in fear!

When someone is the CIA or FBI must go dark it is to protect them or guard their identity.
I have found that every leader must go dark at times!

II. Most leaders can’t just get OVER it! OVER can cause going dark!
If you get….
• Overexposed! Elijah- Jezebel wanted to kill him! God will hide you!
• Overwhelmed! Romans 8:26- When we don’t know how to pray the Spirit makes intercession-
• Overthrown!- David faced this with Absolom.
• Overcome!- Rev. 12:11- We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.
• Passed-Over! When you feel you have been defrauded. Remember God has the power to promote you! He exalts the humble.

III. 7 Precepts for the Dark Times
1. Leader you will face dark times!
Psalms 107:14, He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.

Proverbs 13:12- Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

• God word explains in depth that many Moses, Elijah, Elisha, David, Jonah, Simon Peter, Paul, and most of all Jesus faced dark times.

• Some were not so lucky at getting free. Saul battled depression and discouragement as the king of Israel. I believe it led to his demise. He eventually gave into the evil spirits. Look what the bible says!

1 Samuel 16:23, (message) After that, whenever the bad depression from God tormented Saul, David got out his harp and played. That would calm Saul down, and he would feel better as the moodiness lifted.

• Jesus came to the point of such despair that he begged his father to let the cup pass him.
• Paul in 2 Cor. 1:8- he despaired of life.
• Look at the Psalmist who used to lead worship!

Psalms 42:3-5, My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4. These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and My God.”

• The Psalmist spoke of how he used to be a leader. How he used to lead the procession. Now he lives a life of wondering what happened to him.
• There are tens of thousands of leaders who live their lives remembering what it used to be like.
• Job spoke of darkness!

Job 10:20-22, Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy. 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and deep shadow, 22 to the land of deepest night, of deep shadow and disorder, where even the light is like darkness."

• Look at Solomon- The wisest of all men!

Ecclesiastes 11:8, However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.
But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.

2. Realize darkness is the enemy’s way of keeping you at bay!
Gal. 5:7- You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you
from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one
who calls you.

• The moment you give in to this Spirit you are effectively removed from battles that lead to victories. You have shut the door of opportunity. You have to rise up and declare freedom until it lifts. If you’re battling this Spirit you are a threat. You are dangerous to the enemy.

• The enemy know that if he can get you to “Go Dark” you have removed yourself from being effective.

3. Leaders must be careful to not allow the plight of man or vision to consume them!
Ezra 9:4-6, (Amplified) At the evening sacrifice I arose from my depression, and, having rent my undergarment and my mantle, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, Saying, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has mounted to the heavens.

• God gives you the vision and burden to do something about it, but not let it kill you.
• The moment you take the burden on as you’re the only one that can fix it you have destined yourself for failure.
• Your dying won’t change them.
• A leader has to know when to shut off the valve of ministry.
• Winning others to heaven will not be nearly as sweet if you are lost in the win!
• Ministry is supposed to be fun. We get to be Gods mouth piece, but we cannot become the atoning sacrifice.
• Your building a great vision will be not be remembered as a victory if you die in the process.

4. Going dark forces others to live through your night season!
• Your loss of self will force others whom love you to debate their own purpose.

Proverbs 14:30, (message) A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

• Your family will begin to long for better days in a short life.
• Your spouse will live their lives tiptoeing around the house of darkness!

5. Your destiny is sitting in the balance as you swim in the darkness!
• Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic.
• The sooner you get free the quicker you understand your destiny!

Isaiah 60:1, (Amplified) ARISE [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you — rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

6. Realize in the darkness God can speak!
Job 12:22, He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.

Job 29:2-3, "How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God
watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I
walked through darkness!

• The first thing God did in all humanity was speak to the darkness!

Genesis 1:3, (message) God spoke: "Light!" And light appeared. 4 God saw that light was good and separated light from dark.

7. Jesus understood going dark!
• Jesus disappeared from age 12-30 years old
• He was forced to continually disappear when he was with the disciples
• He went dark in the wilderness for 40 days
• He went dark for three days into hell to set you free!

IV. Let the Father tell you who you are!
• The phone call that day to my dad completely freed me of everything! Why? I knew there was an inner cry to hear the voice of the one who made me!
• It is the father that has the power to free you from your drowning situation!
• It is the father who restores hope to the family that seems lost!
• It is the father that quiets voices of failure, despair, and fear!
• There are times when I am the only one that speak peace to Nate and Abby.
• There are times when if I hear my dads voice- I know I am safe.
• Jesus understood this. He lived in anonymity! Nobody knew him. That is until Dad said who he was!

Matthew 3:13-4:1, (message) Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptize him. 14 John objected, "I'm the one who needs to be baptized, not you!" 15 But Jesus insisted. "Do it. God's work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism." So John did it. 16 The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit — it looked like a dove — descending and landing on him. 17 And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life."

Jesus had done no miracles. He goes to get baptized. His father showed up.
• In the water Jesus knew that when he came out- out of the very thing that could kill him- out of the darkness of the Jordan- He would hear his dads voice!
• We must get the fathers to declare to this generation- who they are!
• It is the only thing that will break the darkness!

I think today I will take time to tell my kids – They are the delight of my life!
My dad rescued his son! Jesus’ dad ignored his son for me!

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